It's not a stretch to say that Dupont Circle is the most famous traffic hub in the United States. But Dupont Circle the neighborhood is a lot more than the small park at its center that gives it its name. Just north of downtown, the area isn't too far from D.C.'s major tourist attractions, but has a welcoming lived-in feeling to counterbalance all that sightseeing. Block by block, Dupont Circle mixes the commercial, institutional, and residential: Stately Embassy Row is here, as are rows of well-kept brick brownstones, art galleries, bookstores, some excellent restaurants up and down the price spectrum, and historic buildings like the Cathedral of St. Matthew, where J.F.K.'s funeral was held. Long the heart of gay life in Washington, Dupont Circle hosts both sober-minded rallies and frivolous entertainments like the annual High Heel Drag Queen Race. A bohemian enclave for decades, Dupont Circle also means nightlife. There are watering holes of all kinds, from the divey Big Hunt to the upscale 18th Street Lounge to Apex, a popular gay dance club that's been around for more than 25 years. A word of warning: the later the hour, the rowdier the young bar scene gets. That said, gentrification has made Dupont Circle pricier and less cutting-edge than, say, the nearby U Street Corridor. But it still maintains enough of its eclectic charm and vitality to serve as a fun and interesting home base for any D.C. excursions.
Befitting the loose, hipster vibe of the neighborhood, a number of boutique hotels have popped up in Dupont Circle in the last few years. The Hotel Palomar, Hotel Madera, and Carlyle Suites all come in at a good price, often under $200. The Dupont Hotel is a luxury option right off the circle. And up Embassy Row, both the Hilton and the Fairfax are tucked away among the mansions.
|Airport:||Dulles International Airport (IAD)|
|Peak:||March 15 - June 30|
|Electricity:||120 V, 60 Hz|
|Tipping:||15-20% at restaurants|